[Federal Register: March 9, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 46)]
[Page 12215-12216]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt 
of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the East Valley 
Centre, City of Highland, San Bernardino County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: National Equity Engineering (Applicant) has applied to the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 
1973, as amended. The Service is considering issuing a 3-year permit to 
the Applicant that would authorize take of the federally endangered San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus; ``SBKR''). The 
proposed permit would authorize the take of individual members of SBKR. 
The permit is needed by the Applicant because take of SBKR could occur 
during the proposed construction of a commercial development on a 15.6-
acre site in the City of Highland, San Bernardino County, California.
    The permit application includes the proposed Habitat Conservation 
Plan (Plan), which describes the proposed action and the measures that 
the Applicant will undertake to minimize and mitigate take of the SBKR.

DATES: Written comments on or before May 8, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Mr. Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, 
California 92011. You also may send comments by facsimile to (760) 918-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen Goebel, Assistant Field 
Supervisor [See ADDRESSES] or call (760) 431-9440.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of these documents for review by contacting 
the above office. Documents also will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 
address and at the San Bernardino County Libraries. Addresses for the 
San Bernardino County Libraries are: (1) 27167 Base Line, Highland, CA 
92346; (2) 25581 Barton Road, Loma Linda, CA 92354; (3) 251 West 1st 
Street, Rialto, CA 92376; and, (4) 104 West Fourth Street, San 
Bernardino, CA 92415.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' 
of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take 
of federally listed fish and wildlife is defined under the Act to 
include ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.'' The 
Service may, under limited circumstances, issue permits to authorize 
incidental take (i.e., take that is incidental to, and not the purpose 
of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity). Regulations 
governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species 
are found in 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22.
    The Applicant is proposing development of commercial facilities on 
15.6 acres of land in the City of Highland, San Bernardino County, 
California. The project site is bordered on the west by the northbound 
off-ramp of the I-210 Freeway for Fifth Street and on the north by 
Fifth Street. A vacant lot and public storage facility border the 
project site to the east, and a berm separates the project site from 
the Plunge Creek flood control basins, aggregate operations and the 
Santa Ana Wash to the south. The site is currently disked on an annual 
basis for weed control.
    Approximately one acre of SBKR habitat on site is considered 
occupied as live-in habitat along the southern and eastern periphery 
and a dirt road in the middle of the project site. The Service has 
determined that the proposed development would result in incidental 
take of the SBKR. No other federally listed species are known to 
utilize the site.
    To mitigate take of SBKR on the project site, the Applicant 
proposes to purchase credits towards conservation in-perpetuity of 
three acres of Riversidean alluvial fan sage scrub from the Cajon Creek 
Conservation Bank in eastern San Bernardino Valley. The conservation 
bank collects fees that fund a management endowment to ensure the 
permanent management and monitoring of sensitive species and habitats, 
including the SBKR.
    The Service's Environmental Assessment considers the environmental 
consequences of four alternatives, including: (1) The Proposed Project 
Alternative, which consists of issuance of the incidental take permit 
and implementation of the Plan; (2) the Alternative Site Layout, which 
would avoid direct effects resulting in take of SBKR during project 
construction and provide no offsite conservation; and (3) the No Action 
Alternative, which would result in no impacts to SBKR and no 

National Environmental Policy Act

    Proposed permit issuance triggers the need for compliance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Accordingly, a draft NEPA 
document has been prepared. The Service is the Lead Agency responsible 
for compliance under NEPA. As NEPA lead agency, the Service is 
providing notice of the availability and is making available for public 
review the Environmental Assessment.

Public Review

    The Service invites the public to review the Plan and Environmental 
Assessment during a 60-day public comment period [see DATES]. Any 
comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of 
the official administrative record and may be made available to the 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and 
the regulations for implementing NEPA, as amended (40 CFR 1506.6). We 
will evaluate the application, associated documents, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of NEPA regulations and section 10(a) of the Act. If we 
determine that those requirements are met, we will issue a permit to 
the Applicant for the incidental take of the SBKR. We will make our 
final permit decision no

[[Page 12216]]

sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: March 3, 2006.
Ken McDermond,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. E6-3351 Filed 3-8-06; 8:45 am]